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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 29, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm EST

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>> thank you jared, for that great$ fi= ai9ñ >> i was finishing my first
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book. after the civil war king had led one of the important scientific migszs of the west and was the first person to incorporate photograph 23i into that sort of study. he chose to accompany him, a man who is becoming one of the great american photographers timmy o sullivan, who then worked with king on the survey for three years. o'sullivan had been a protojaj e jay of matthew brady quite possibly meeting him in the early 1850s as a boy where brady had a photographic portrait gallery. i realized that there was no first rate big ra fill of matthew brady and it seemed to me to deserve one. here's a very flat i recall inging painting of brady. the years since have been a lesson in just how little i knew
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about the man when i decided to write about him. and how little i knew was accurate it should have struck me that if there was not a good book about such an important figure, there might be a reason why. he did not keep a journal or write a memoir. wrote only a handful of prefungt
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ri letters and spoke about his year in detail to a full journal iszs and friends only late in life when the national tendency of many people is to embroider the past as i'm reaching later in lifestyle to unction that phenomenon. this is a sketch that was done of brady by an artist, james, edward kelly. brady stopped into the studio one day on the southeast corner of washington square in new york. and kelly was up on a ladder would recollecting on a model for a sculpture and he came down and drew the sketch and handed it to brady and brady signed it. there weren't a lot of examples of brady's signature and handed it back and said something like you've bettered 34i boys, meaning i think he'd done a better likeness than all the photographers who worked for brady might have done.
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so this lack of primary sources is one reason why such a central cultural figure of his time has no good big ra fill. the second reason is in the years since his death this plauzty of fact has led some writers to go beyond brady's own embroidery to pure speculation and even fabrication. . so the challenge in the book was to dig deeper and to be more initially skeptical about what had already been written about it. what are the things i thought i knew about brady that i knew were wrong? the first was what almost everyone thinks they know about him. that he was not just a civil war photographer, but he was in some sense the civil war photographer. that he himself managed to
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take all of those paragraph e photographs with. it's true we' e see the same photographs again and again. this one became a us e u.s. postal stamp for the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg. it's theoretically possible that one man could have scurried around and made many of the photographs that we do know. especially because there are no pictures at all of the most of the civil war events, ranging from the first battle of bull run in virginia to lee's surrender to grant. in fact there are no photographs at all of fighting. brady did not himself, travel from battle to battle. although he did go to that first big one at bull run, where he was likely the first man in history to attempt to take photographs under fire.
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but none of the photographs survived the day. he did have this heroic photograph of 4i78s made in washington in his washington studio the next day. several publy kagszs including the new york times reported or at least strongly implied that he had brought photographs back from the battle field. but, after bull run, where he could be forgiven for having been spooked by his proximity to live ammunition, he stayed mild e miles away from any battlefield for almost two years.x=g
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although he did go to richmond and succeeded in taking photographs of robert e. lee soon as he returned from the war to the house where mrs. reel was living. and within a few days of president lincoln's death. i've thought a lot about why lee posed for these famous photographs. he -- you can imagine how weary he must have felt in every single way posz and his son wrote later there's nothing he likes so little as having his photographs made. but lincoln died the day that lee returned to richmond. and i suspect that he had some sense of responsibility to prebt e present this calm visage of this dangerous time in his nation's history. this is what i'm sure you're all
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familiar with these photographs. this had some residents in the south for years afterwads. stim as many as 10,000 civil war photographs were atributed to brady or his studio. how can that be? heres where things get a bit complicated. brady began his career early in the era opening a portrait studio or lower broadway in 1844 just below city hall court. and across fulton street across from st. paul's chapel.
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especially if you wanted the sitter to walk away with the finished picture. the metal plates needed to be buffed and treated. and after the prepare edd plate was exz posed and possibly hand colored and framed in a leather case chlts different people performed each of these tasks and a later brady studio had as many as 25 employees. the person who took the photograph was jeanly not brady, himself. but someone who was called an operator, the man who operated the camera. brady owned and ran the business, hired the workers, made all the aesthetic and technical choices and often greeted his customers. and escort e courted them to a position in front of the camera, putting them at their ease and setting up the photo. early in his career he decided he wanted to specialize in
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images of well-known people. so he also spent a lot of time in pursuit of them. this is a picture of the great british scientist michael faraday that brad e brady good when he was in london, 1851. you are probably familiar with the surfaces that are easy to wipe off. the degar types that were made were in his gallery in the reception room were known as photos by brady. this is a rendering of a later studio.
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in a business context, business this is easy to understand. the owners are not always personally responsible for everything the business produces. but in a photography context where we think of a photographer as the person behind the camera, this has been less easy to understand and has led to charges that brady took credit in a deceptive way for work that his employees performed. boy e by the time the civil war began, he was now on broadway. he had in 1858 opened a business on pennsylvania avenue between 6th and 7th. his goal had become within his first three years on broadway to take photographs not just of famous people, but of every important american.
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he had kept up with the rapid changes in technology and was now taking studio portraits beautifully printed on paper often in large sizes and expensive. but, also, mass hch produced calling size photographs or what we would call 3d photos. the one of a kind degaratype had been left behind. although a similar type was still in use. here's one taken in the mid 1850s. for the most part brady was creating negatives on glass. probably the most important ever took was on february 1860 when he gave his famous speech which made him a viable presidential candidate. this image was widely reproduced during the election and when
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brady saw lincoln again after he saw him for the inauguration, lincoln supposedly said brady and the cooper institute made me president. brady seems to be the only source for this quotation. so make of it what you will. after the southern states seceded and fort sumpter was captured the soldiers and officers camped around the city. they often went to the brady studio to have a por trat made to send back home. and wrad day began to send his -- i feel like i'm losing on jeopardy. not being able to use my clicker. brady was able to take what
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amounted to studio portraits out of doors. this is, as you can see by the sign, ambrose burnside, at that point, a colonel. part of brady's impulse had to do with his sense that the civil war was a big subject that history would want to know about. a continuation of his long-time goal of photograph of people who would be of interest to history. but these images also had commercial value as card and stereo stereograph prints. so brady had several teams out taking pictures before the war began. after bullrun this practice continued and some of his men who became famous in their own right, this washington gal reel manager, alexander gardener, timothy o'sullivan, i recall mentioned earlier, and others, began photographing and helping the engineers find appropriate spots for camps hospitals and other infrastructure.
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after the rebel's abandonment, brady set hissighteds out but these images were not particularly interesting as photographs. probably the most significant pictures taken of this time were the so called quaker guns at centervrksz ille. there's such a wonderful spirt of fun in so many of these civil war pictures. and this guy here pretending to light the fake cannon is an example of that.e:o many of the pictures taken
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around washington before the war had people you know, making human pyramids and silly things like that. obviously, they didn't know what was to come. one of those -- this picture, i should say was taken by george barnard. and one of them accompanied the army on the campaign where he took the first real seminal photographs of the war. this is a stereograph. i've just shown you a little bit of the right-hand side. you can see the image begins to repeat itself. this is a hopt camp at savage's
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station. harper's weekly wrote about this photo. it is a picture that is more eloquent than the speech. so brady took these photographs sold these photographs that his men took. he also copied and added to his collection photographs that others had taken. some of which he appropriated with per mix and some of which he did not. by any means available, brady accumulated images from the civil war and the prominence of many of them is not known and probably never will be.
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because brady has kept the collection together, we have him to thank. it worked for brady at one time or another. in the same sense, it wasn't true that they were all working for him at the same time.
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that he got credit for work taken by others and that he accumulated photographs that were in no sense his. plusz, there was brady's sus pishl entrepreneurial zeal. >> and sometimes won't everyone attribute them to his studio. but this is changing.
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what i'd like to do just briefly is hint at the case in the book that brady was not only a photographer but a conscious artist. brady was a charismatic young painter named william page. page was a protege of samuel morse whom we know is the inventer of the traf but who is
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also a well-known portrait painter of his day. this is a picture that morse and brady took in the 1e8 50s. will or not brady had learned degaratype from morse, he was certainly at least on the fringe of artistic circles in new york soon after photography arrived in america. the sorts of portraits he himself, began to take undoubtedly owed a debt to portrait painting.
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it wasn't color, but you can see that her jacket and her hat were inked, were enhanced with black ink to make them more dramatic. three photographs that brady took more than 150 years ago at gettysburg speak explicitly to whether photography is simply a mechanical process or whether it implies the presence of a conscious artist. gashder in gardener had set up his own business and taken brady with him many of his best photographers.
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gardener arifled first, two days after the fighting had stopped. the two days approaching from the south on a road passing by had been buried and as gardener and gibson added to antitum they began burying confederates. the three men spent only about 48 hours on the battlefield, in that time, taking about 60 images. three-fourths of which were lifeless bodies or other aspects of the horrors of war. brady did not arrive for another week and he and his men did not start taking photographs until july 15th. by then almost all the bodies had been buried and the most visible signs of battle had been cleaned up.
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perhaps it wasn't even a question for brady. these two men had very different sensibleties. gardeners was more journalistic and bradys, although he was a successful businessman with a keen sense of commercial was more artistic. he himself was not drawn to images of the dead or to other sorts of pictures that showed the price of war. for instance he took this confederate pictures.
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images where she's looking over his shoulder where the battle had raged. i'll just show jowl these three and kind of scroll back and forth among them. i argue in my book that they are more interesting as photographs. and that our clear press today was not matched by people at the time they were taken. all three of these images have captioning linking them to one of the most important events of the battle thought by some to be the union's best general. a pennsylvanian who is largely
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responsible for the battle at gettysburg reynolds was shot from his horse in a wooded area on the first day of battle dying instantly from a head wound. this is officially well-known that several of these pictures have captions that suggest either reynolds fell or died and are not true. those captions are wrong. this is a human koshszness of the violence that played out in these woods and fields. we see one or two people contemplating the plasz id landscape and we know what 34us be on their minds.
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brady has authored what might be called first person photography. a statement that is not just an object ef. but if a few created an effect by an individual consciousness. i should say the picture in the man is pointing to the woods where reynolds did. for me the three reynolds photographs qualifies works of art and that they have a clear idea behind them and are executed in a way that enhances that idea. we always see his back which makes him in one sense anonymous yet particularize him. this is not men standing in the
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field. and even without knowing that this was brady himself, the viewer would know that this is a distinct individual contemplating the horrible scenes that have taken place within the camera's view. the only battle for which grant expressed regret. the outskirts of peters burg where brady and his men followed. and where he took photographs. he posed general robert potter, a division commander.
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potters men are arranged around him by height. and potter is hatless and staring directly into the lens from the exact middle of the composition. if brady had stopped there it would be a very satsz filling photograph. but now that brady had started putting himself in photographs, he couldn't stop. this time we see his face. he has posed himself as what he was, not the sublt of the photograph but its presiding intelligence. his gaze not at the lens, but bisecting the line between the general and the camera. who could view this image without knowing that its author was not the sign but a person. the well-taylored art igs standing confidently to the right of the frame, hand on hip leg jauntly cocked.
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harold asked me a bit to focus on this talk in the photographs of lincoln that brady or his studio took an 1864 since a cup of pages in my book do this i thought i would read them to you. on august 9 9 and again in august, 1863 the first portraits made of lincoln since gardener's photographs of him in the field after anteetum the previous october. and, on friday january 8th exactly two months after the hour of lincoln's sittings the president appeared for a series of photographs credited brady himself.
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these are two of them. >> according to the painter, francis carpenter, who had just started working in the white house, he himself; joined the president and plsz lincoln that day under the front port cole of the executive mansion where a carriage was to take them to the 3:00 appointment. but after they had waited for a time and the carriage had not shown up lincoln proposed that he and carpenter walked a mile or so to the gal reel saying it won't hurt you and me to talk down. carpenter said that lincoln entertained him along the way by telling stories ichb colluding springfield, illinois.
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presumably, mrs. lincoln followed once the carriage could be rounded up. it's a charming photograph turning the page of a book that they were both looking down at. i just read recently that lincoln was worried that people assumed that they were looking at the bible and he didn't want to mislead people. they were looking at a book of brady photographs and they just handed him as a prop. lincoln has on tiny reading glasses. it's not the most -- it is not
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the most significant of the half dozen pictures berger made that cay. day. one, a profile, became the mod em for lincoln's head on the u.s. penny. and another is said to have been the photograph that the 5 dlarsz bill was mod e8 e eled image for the $5 bill was modelled on. so those are three pretty significant photographs. the following evening berger and at least one other photographer went to the white house at the request of carpenter to make some stereographic stud sdis for me at the president's office.
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this is a degaratype of campen material. he was preparing to paint his heroic work, first reading of the emancipation proclamation by president lincoln which now hangs in the u.s. capitol in the senate wing. carpenter sent members of his cabinet for his pabting and when berks erger made the april 26th visit, lincoln posed standing at the table in his office on which he had signed the historic document. in his memoir carpenter tells a story of his day where they could have the darkness necessary to prepare the plagues.
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carpenter showed them to a room that ted had been using as a small theater with stage curtains orchestra stalls par kwet and all. berger and whoever was helping him that day set up their equipment in that room and after preparing plates there, took them to the president's office. when one of brady's men carried an exposed plate or two back to the interior room, he found that the door was locked. ted had discovered their presence in his theater and had thrown a fit locking the door and needed to fit the exposed images. the only prints i've seen of that shoot are pretty bad. the president was sitting in his office chair waiting for another photograph when ted bursz in in a fearful passion.
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soon he came back with a key and unlocked the door himself returning for a seat waiting for the next exposure. the president explained as carpenter recounts it, ted is a peculiar child. he was violently excited when i came to him. i said ted, do you know you're making your father a great deal of trouble he burst into tears instantly giving up a key. the last image i want to show you was taken after cole harbor in 1864. it is similar to the potter photograph in that a union general and his staff were the sublt. that is potter's boss, ambrose burnside.
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seated with his legs across in the middle of the photo. what is interesting about this image, of course is the somewhat ghostly presence of brady himself to the far left. although he was not focused when his operator exposed the plate. in a way, it's funny, of course a mistake. but it does speak to brady's role in a photo by brady when he was present. for me, sts something else. someone we will never know in whole. thank you.
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[ applause ] >> so, we're going to do some questions. yes, sir. >> congratulations on the book. i think it's extraordinary important. >> thank you. >> when brady and gardner's photographs were first published, the american public recoiled in horror, people who had never been to war had never seen those scenes. are there any recorded accounts of lincoln's reaction to seeing the dead on the battlefield for the first time? >> not that i'm aware of. there probably -- i mean, i would imagine almost everyone in this room knows more about lincoln than i do. and i don't know of an account like that. i do think that the impact of these photographs on the public is very much exaggerated. you know, they were -- the pictures were in the brady studio and people who happened to walk by on broadway could go
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up and look at them and they were stereoscope and they looked down into a box. "the new york times" wrote a very touching, moving piece about them. you know, there weren't any other exhibits that i know of, of the dead, like the one brady did.# .ñ and there is, as far as i can tell i assume that gardner exhibited them in the washington studio, too, and there are no accounts in the newspapers about it. there's seemingly -- i'm sure there are many collectors in the room who may be able to add to this, but they're not apparently a terribly great number of sort of massed reproduced images of this around suggesting that they didn't really sell particularly well either.
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i'm doubtful of what -- of course, the war only got worse, right? if they shocked the public, it didn't have a huge effect on them. i wish i knew about the effect on lincoln, but i don't. >> thank you. congratulations, again. >> thanks. >> question about the interior of ford's theater and the box and those of us who volunteer and have to answer questions like to tell the story that stanton -- later in the day lincoln died. can you confirm that? is that a part of the story? and any other photographs that he took of historic places like that that could be used for restoration or for history? >> well, i think gardner people got there first and did a lot of pictures pictures around the event
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itself, including, i think, a picture of the telegraph office where the news went out to the nation that lincoln had died. i think brady's men got over there later and took the images they took. as i say i mean, gardner had a better sort of journalistic sense. they were often -- brady people were often following them, i think. i'm not sure -- i don't really know about other historic sites. >> did he also photograph historic sites in the city, in washington, in other cities where it wasn't just battlefields or people, but also architectural places that we -- >> well, when the -- when gibson went down on the peninsula he often took pictures of sites related to revolutionary war,
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yorkstown and things like that. i don't think of the photos as being essential architectural. there were landscapes done in connection with the top graphical engineers. brady was really a portrait photographer his whole life and he really wanted to take pictures of people. thanks. yes, sir. >> thank you for filling in that void i had about brady. i have a several-part question. of the many pictures that brady took of lincoln, who paid him? how much was he paid? >> who made -- >> who paid him. the government? and how much was he paid? >> i would very much doubt he was paid at all. he took many, many -- if you go into his account books at the library of congress from later on in the 1870s you'll see all these places where it seems like
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with increasing futility comp for mr. brady. brady always took pictures of the famous as comps. and he would -- you know, the send them a picture and keep one for his collection. i would be surprised if lincoln paid for any of those portraits. yes, sir. >> yeah. i worked at the clara -- in washington and doing my research on her, i noticed that because brady's studio was so close she had gone down and had a lot of pictures made by brady. so i wanted to locate his -- between sixth and seventh on pennsylvania. however, it's just an abandoned building. there is not even a plaque that says what it was. i found out it was the site of galt's jewelry which only claim to fame was woodrow wilson's
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wife, that galt was her first husband. >> yeah. >> but nothing. it's just an abandoned building. >> well, that's not exactly true. the two buildings that brady's studios were in in washington are connected to the big victorian building on the corner. >> yeah. >> they've all been put together. i'm pretty sure there is a plaque out in front of that building. i went in and looked at where brady's studio -- >> i've got pictures of it. i couldn't find it. maybe you saw it. maybe i missed it. >> you may be right. i went up there. i didn't get any sense of brady having been there. when they redid those buildings there was an architectural report and it said the upper floor brady's studio had been in had been abandoned -- had been empty from the time brady left in 1881 for 100 years. it shows you how dynamic lower pennsylvania -- >> yeah the jewelry floor was on
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the first floor, i think. >> but there is one thing there that's of interest. a sky light on the back of the building. if you come up and look from behind, you can see the skylight on the side that brady had designed and put in there. i try -- i sort of think of it as george washington's axe, where somebody replaced the handle and shbls replaced the head but it's still george washington's axe. there's at least a hole there that was brady -- a hole that brady made in the side of the building. yes, ma'am. >> speaking of the building on 16th -- on pennsylvania avenue. i've been in that building. my husband's uncle owned it about 50 years ago. and so -- >> my sympathies because he wasn't getting much rental. >> i was able to go up the very stairs lincoln would have gone up and also i was able to go into the room which would have
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been the studio. >> wow. >> although it had been converted, as you say into apartments up there. but still you could see the area. the skylight was still there. it is not the skylight -- >> in the ceiling or in the back? >> it's in the ceiling toward pennsylvania avenue. and so that kind of kicks out the fact that the one in the back they put in when they renovated everything is really not what we would think is what -- were the actual sky light was. >> well there were skylights in the ceiling, but -- >> it's in the ceiling. >> there was one he put on the back that -- yeah all of that was covered up. that's fascinating. >> but i think the skylight is still there. >> it is. >> i think they left it in the ceiling. >> oh right. >> i should have looked at google maps, i guess. >> but it was really cool to go up the stairs and be in the really -- be in the room and
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stand where where those people would have stood and he took the photographs. one other thing, too, and gardner's photographs, it shows the picture of him seated in the chair that has that fringe on it and so forth. i was able to see that chair also because that was on display at sweden church on 16th street when mark katz did his book on gardner. and he had -- i don't know if he owned the chair but somehow or another that church had the chair. that was another thing i really saw. one question i do have is have you ever seen a photograph of the outside of the washington studio? i have never been able to find one. >> i think there are photographs where you can see it from a distance. >> but you don't see -- >> not one that's sort of dead on, i guess. >> well, anyway -- >> that's very interesting. >> that's my story and i'm sticking with it. >> right. so much for the architectural
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report from 1981. >> brady's life ended kind of tragic. would you care to comment on his demise? >> yeah. brady was one of these people whose life didn't have a third act because it had a wonderful first act as a portrait photographer on broadway and then the civil war part. his finances went, you know, increasingly south after the war. he worked very hard to sell this collection to the war department and was eventually able to get $25,000. although late in life he told james edward kelly, the sculptor who did the sketch of him, that a congressman -- a certain congressman had gotten a gratuity of 50%. brady only got $12,500. now, brady was not terribly trustworthy but he said you can
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look it up who the congressman was who put the bill in. and given who the congressman was, i tend to believe it. the congressman was beast butler. one i think congressmen in a very corrupt era. i wrote about him in an earlier book when he had taken 100,000 shares in a mining company as he put through one of the worst bills in u.s. history, the 1872 mining act which is still denounced in the full-page ad in "the new york times" once a year i think for making minerals on federal lands available to commercial interests without much payback to the u.s. government. anyway. so he died pretty much penniless. his funeral was paid for in part by the -- one of the units in new york, i'm blanking right now on which one that he had been
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an honorary member of. there was not enough money for a tombstone evidently because when a tombstone was finally put up, it had the wrong year for his death on it. eventually that was replaced.repl but yeah, he died -- he died penniles penniless.th although i must say that he was he wa about -- he was about to have a kind of revival.vival. there was going to be a big showing of just photographs at carnegie hall. brady was going to introduce intr him. he hadod worked on kind of extended captions for each one and picked the order of them. so i guess he died with a little hope that his career was going to be revived in that way. t thank you.
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washington ideas forum energy conservation with david crane business magnate t. boone pickens, cake love owner warren brown and inventor dean kaman. at 4:00 p.m., the brooklyn historical society holds a conversation on race. then at 8:00 p.m. eastern from the explorers club, "apollo 7" astronaut walt cunningham on the first manned space flight. new year's day on c-span2 just before noon eastern author hector tobor on the 33 men that were buried in a chilean mine. and at 3:00 p.m. eastern richard norton smith on the life of nelson rockefeller. then at 8:00 p.m. eastern, former investigative correspondent for cbs news sheryl atkisson. new year's day on american history tv on c-span3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern juanita abernathy on her experiences on the role of women in the civil rights movement. at 4:00 p.m. brooklyn college professor benjamin karp on the
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link between alcohol and politics in pre-revolutionary new york city. and then at 8:00 p.m., cartoonist patrick oliphant as historian david mccullough discusses the presidents and some of their most memorable qualities. new year's day on the c-span networks. for our complete schedule, go to c-span.org. historian katherine clinton talks about what she calls, quote, parlor politics in washington, d.c., during the civil war. women such as mary lincoln and kate chase, daughter of treasury secretary sam chase, carried out their own social battles through gossip, spending wars and hosting parties. mary lincoln often drew criticism for attempting to keep up appearances through lavish diplomatic dinners despite the ongoing civil war. this hour-long event was part of the lincoln forum symposium in gettysburg, pennsylvania.
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>> it is my pleasure to introduce our second speaker, dr. katherine clinton. dr. clinton earned her bachelor's degree at harvard and her ph.d. at princeton where she studied under dr. james mcpherson. she taught at the citadel wesleyan, brandeis and at queens university in belfast northern ireland. since august of 2014 she's been the denman endowed professor in american history at the university of texas at san antonio. so from northern ireland to texas, that's quite a journey. in 2016 she'll assume the presidency of the southern historical association, a prestigious post recognizing her standing in the field. she is the author or editor of two dozen books many focusing on family, gender or women's issues in the 19th century. i suspect many people in this room have read her 2009 biography of mary todd lincoln. her talk today is entitled "teeming with rivals: women's parlor politics during the civil
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war." please help me welcome dr. clinton. >> thank you. it's so lovely to be here in gettysburg. and yes, indeed, the journey from northern ireland to texas what would draw me into these arctic temperatures? but i want to credit the -- certainly the quartet of very kind scholars in the field. i was first brought here by gabor boret, and then hanks to harold halzer and chief frank i've been back again and again. but thank you, jim, of course, for helping this needy student on her journey toward civil war history. a powerful woman at at the center of swirling political debates. her influence over him, did she
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or did she not sway him was a source of parlor games in that most murky of fishbowls, washington, d.c. gossip and gender create powerful sparks and reverberations in political hot houses. and for those who think such issues don't matter, wererecall ed muskie dissolved in the melting snow versus tears debate in february 1972. a well-educated woman with a track record of speaking her mind, a woman who did not mind bumping against the young shiny palace guard at the white house. the capitol remained a gog, anticipating her every misstep, speculating on her motives with intensifying speculation as reporters tracked her every move. could it be 2012? or is it 1864? as i suggest in my recent biography of mrs. lincoln of life, the sturman drawing
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enveloping lincoln's wife could not be matched until we had hillary clinton in the white house as the president's wife. and it was mrs. lincoln who first carved out a distinctive role for herself during her white house years. as much by necessity as by choice. several of mary lincoln's immediate family were engaged in military rebellion dedicated to the overthrow of her husband's government. she remained completely loyal to the union and went well beyond what was required having her male incoming and outgoing read for her. lincoln's wife had perhaps the most challenging time as first lady, a term that was coined before she assumed the role but became a label embraced by the press to designate the president's wife. due to mary's visibility and profile, she took advantage of this new role. as mary lincoln the todd was only added later by descendants who actually wanted to link mary
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to her birth family, the todds, and also to another president and that is dolly todd madison was actually married to a todd. but in her own lifetime, the two named mary lincoln felt herself at the center of a converging disaster in 1864. for three long years she had weathered the political storm. she had endured fearful threats against her husband in 1861, suffered the loss of a child in 1862. and she nearly died herself of an injury following the sabotage of the president's carriage in june 1863 which resulted in an accident intended to have a fatal effect on the president rather than the very severe head trauma it caused his wife. and year 1864 proved a severely challenging siege for the much maligned mrs. lincoln. rather than serenely reigning, she found her parlor teeming with rivals.
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mary had worked hard during her husband's first presidential campaign in the summer of 1860. she made a favorable impression on john scripps, editor of "the chicago tribune," who suggested that the lincolns were not the country bumpkins the eastern establishment might expect especially as lincoln's wife was well educated french speaking an aristocratic daughter of the bluegrass, a new york herald reporter suggested that lincoln's springfield residence resembled longfellows abode in cambridge, another journalist described the tasteful decor of the home, crediting lincoln's wife who was really an amiable, an accomplished lady. she's reports were meant to reassure voters along the eastern seaboard that they hadn't really had a wild westerner for a candidate. after lincoln's victory at the ballot box he had an uphill battle when he arrived in washington, d.c.
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well, the president-elect worked to organize his government mary launched her own campaigns hosting family and friends greeting diplomats and statesmen, anticipating her new set of duties. and she sought to maneuver the treacherous shoals of secession. the coldness and snobbery of easterners was wearing her down. she confronted one of the most idiosyncratic of american institutions, washington society. at the heart of the city, the toughened core of social arbiters were known as cave dwellers. their tenure and tenacity gave them influence over the parade of newcomers who straggled into the city at irregular but certainly every four-year intervals. the inner city of d.c. society was surrounded by the money bags whose rung on the ladder was bought. and then there were the highbrows whose station was secured by talent regardless of we

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